The R&A and the USGA have announced that the Walker Cup match will be contested in even years from 2026 onwards.
The 49th Walker Cup match will be contested in September 2023 at St Andrews and the 50th at Cypress Point in September 2025.
The R&A had not yet announced their 2027 venue but given that this match has now been brought forward to 2026 a statement in this regard can be expected shortly.
The above calendar change means the USGA has confirmed that the matches previously scheduled by them for Bandon Dunes in 2029 and Oakmont Country Club in 2033 will now be played in 2028 and 2032 respectively.The move has been driven by the International Golf Federation moving the World Amateur Team Championship to odd years from 2023, a decision which was announced in 2020. This was in turn caused by golf returning to the Summer Olympic Games schedule in 2016 and now taking place in even years.
Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “We believe that this change creates the best schedule for the players and for the Walker Cup match itself. The Walker Cup is at the forefront of men’s amateur golf and we want to ensure that its status is reflected in its position in the golfing calendar.”
“This is just the next step as we make sure team competitions have a balanced schedule and in this case, encourage participation by the world’s best amateurs without unnecessary conflict,” said John Bodenhamer, Chief Championships Officer at USGA.ME.
The USGA has announced that the 2033 Walker Cup match will be staged at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.
The USGA made the announcement during the U.S. Amateur Championship which is currently being played at Oakmont.
Oakmont Country Club
Following recent commitments to both Pinehurst Resort and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort the USGA has now also undertaken to bring a number of its future Championships to Pennsylvania and in particular the state’s two premier courses, Oakmont C.C. and Merion Golf Club.
Oakmont has to date hosted 20 major Championships, more than any other course in USA, except for Augusta National Golf Club, the permanent home of The Masters. The 2021 U.S. Amateur being its 17th USGA Championship – nine United States Opens (1927, 1935, 1953, 1962, 1973, 1983, 1994, 2007, 2016), five U.S. Amateurs (1919, 1925, 1938, 1969, 2003, 2021) and two U.S. Women’s Open (1992, 2010). In addition it has also staged three U.S. PGA Championships (1922, 1951, 1978).
Oakmont and Merion are iconic in every sense of the word – they’re in rare company in golf and continue to test the best in the game,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “We’re making history and kicking off a new era for our national championships in Pennsylvania, and we couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead.”
The USGA has entered into a partnership with Bandon Dunes which will see 13 of its championships / international matches staged at the resort between 2022 and 2045.
The Walker Cup will be played in 2029 and the Curtis Cup in 2038.
Bandon Dunes has previously hosted the 2006 Curtis Cup (Pacific Dunes), the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur (Bandon Dunes), the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links & U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (Old Macdonald & Bandon Trails), the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four Ball (Pacific Dunes), the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (Old Macdonald & Pacific Dunes) and the 2020 U.S. Amateur (Bandon Dunes & Bandon Trails).
John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships, said “With five championship-caliber courses and incredible support from the resort’s ownership, Bandon Dunes is the perfect location for these USGA championships. Mike Keiser has been an incredible advocate for amateur golf and his ongoing support for the USGA and our mission served as the vision for this partnership. We are excited to work together for years to come.”
The USGA’s International Team Selection working group have announced their 10-man USA Walker Cup Team.
The statement puts to bed rumours, admittedly largely instigated by myself, that the match may be postponed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team’s preparations.
Davis THOMPSON 21 (b.05/06/99) of St. Simons Island, Georgia
– WAGR 10/02/21 selection (#2).
– Georgia senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #1.
1. McClure MEISSNER 22 of San Antonio, Texas
– Committee selection.
– SMU senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #22.
2. Garett REBAND 21 of York, South Carolina
– Committee selection.
– Oklahoma senior.
– 24/02/21 WAGR #16.
All 12 of the above USA players were ranked in the top 23 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at the time of the announcement.
USGA Graphic / Photo
Hagestad, Hammer and Pak are returning players from the 2019 USA Team, which defeated GB&I 15.5-10.5, at Royal Liverpool G.C., England. Hagestad was also on the victorious USA team at Los Angeles C.C., California in 2017.
The USA team will be captained for the second time by Nathaniel Crosby, of Jupiter, Florida. “It is once again a great privilege to serve as the USA captain and to work with a group who represent the best of amateur golf,” said Crosby. “The 10 team members have a notable list of accomplishments on the collegiate, national and international levels. They will represent the United States in the spirit and tradition of the Walker Cup Match.”
The 2021 match against GB&I will be played at Seminole G.C. in 68 days time on 8-9 May.
The USGA confirmed that due to health and safety guidelines “attendance at the Match will be limited.”
All of the signals suggest that the 2021 Walker Cup may shortly be postponed.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the primary reason why the match should not take place in early May. The United Kingdom and Ireland have been badly impacted. Golf is currently banned in all home countries except for Scotland with widespread travel restrictions and quarantining in place. Whilst a roadmap to an easing of these controls is due to be announced by the UK Government next week this is not expected to deliver a quick fix. A gradual easing of health and safety measures over the next 4-6 months seems to be the plan.
Reflecting the above The R&A today announced that the Men’s Home Internationals would not now be played between 14-16 April 2021 at Royal Dornoch in Scotland due to the pandemic. You will recall this competition had been brought forward in December from its original September date to assist the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) selectors in choosing a Walker Cup team.
Some leading GB&I amateurs have struggled to find regular practice – let alone playing – opportunities since last summer given the UK lockdowns and travel issues with regard to the normal winter haunts of Australia, South Africa and USA. It now seems unlikely that any competitive golf will take place in GB&I until June 2021. It will also be interesting to see how many of the current 27 GB&I entrants to the forthcoming Spanish International Amateur make the 1st tee on 3rd March.
The selection of a proper GB&I team in April is compromised in my opinion. Yes, The R&A could select one for a May match at Seminole but would it be fair to all of the players currently competing for a spot to do so.
The Walker Cup needs family, friends and fans to make it what it is. With travel from Europe likely to be very difficult until later in the summer this will not be straight forward for away supporters in May. It should not be played behind closed doors and with no tickets having gone on sale yet this seems to be an option being considered. A match with just the players and captains on site – perhaps with some home fans too – hardly seems worth playing to me.
There is no material commercial television and sponsorship considerations to hamper a deferment; something which has driven the continuation of the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and PGA or European Tour events in 2020/21.
Golf at Seminole is seasonal with play commencing in late October and ending in mid-May. Therefore if the USGA wish to keep the match in Juno Beach, Florida it seems sensible to reschedule it for October as soon as the course re-opens. A move to another venue in August or September is an option if October is considered too late.
Amateur golf fans in USA may not understand a postponement given that college and professional golf is being played with some fans able to attend. However, the situation in GB&I is not the same. I understand that some players on both sides may not choose to wait for an Autumn date but on balance I believe we’ve now reached the point where we need to buy ourselves some more time. A date broadly in line with the now traditional September one is not a disaster if it means a normal match for both sides can be played.
Nathaniel Crosby, who turns 58 on 29th October, has been re-appointed as captain of the USA Walker Cup team for the 2021 match which will be played at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida.
Crosby was always expected to be given the now customary second term after leading his USA team to a 15.5-10.5 away victory at Royal Liverpool G.C. last month and given the fact he lives close to and is a member of the famed Seminole club.
Upon confirming the captaincy Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman, said “Nathaniel’s previous Walker Cup experience and guidance proved to be the right mix to lead the 2019 team to victory. Our players experienced life lessons from a true gentleman and competitor and we are excited to have him lead the team again at Seminole.”
“The 2019 Walker Cup experience was an unbelievable journey from start to finish, and I am honored to be allowed to once again guide an outstanding group of young men in 2021” said Crosby.
In an interview with the Silver Club Golfing Society Podcast on 16th September 2019, shortly after returning home from England, he spoke in more detail about the possibility of being re-appointed for 2021, saying, “It would be an incredible privilege to be picked again. I know that has been a tradition with the USGA over the last three decades. I worry about a (former) player or two who could be passed over. The funny thing about Seminole is that if you’re a Walker Cup captain you are one of ten people. I don’t even want to think about it and the possibilities at this point. It’s a definite commitment of time and effort and I don’t know how any experience could match what’s just happened for me. That being said I don’t want to take myself out of the running ! This privilege was a lifelong memory and a highlight of my life. It would be greedy to want another one.”
The 48th Walker Cup Match is scheduled for 8th – 9th May 2021 and will mark the first time that the biennial team competition will be held in the spring in the U.S.
The WAGR has ranked Cole Hammer 1st, Akshay Bhatia 4th and Stewart Hagestad 5th today and they are the three leading U.S. players on the list.
My views on the accuracy of the WAGR are well known and as such I am not convinced that this was a sensible idea by the USGA. Yes, by all means announce some players early but don’t use the WAGR (alone) to determine who they are would have been my advice.
All three players attended the December 2018 USGA practice session in Florida so were clearly in the mix already.
As an advocate of the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) my immediate response to these selections is to view where these players sit in this alternative and better ranking, particularly in the U.S. players-only list. Here is the answer (as at 12 noon on 24th July): –
Cole Hammer #2 (1st in the U.S.A.)
Akshay Bhatia #67 (37th in the U.S.A.)
Stewart Hagestad #33 (16th in the U.S.A.)
Whilst I would certainly not suggest that either Bhatia or Hagestad are weak players I imagine many of their peers, certainly those ranked well above them in the SPWAR, are questioning what is going on however transparent the policy may have been.
Stewart Hagestad is of course a mid-amateur and therefore his early inclusion fulfils the USGA’s commitment to include one player aged over 25 on the U.S.A. team.
The seven remaining players will be selected by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee on or shortly after 18th August 2019, the day the U.S. Amateur Championship finishes.
The Committee will gain additional selections if one of the above three players wins the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship or wins the 2019 Mark H. McCormack Medal winner (Men’s WAGR No. 1). Should another U.S. player secure either of these honours they will be automatically selected to the team.
The 47th Walker Cup match will take place at Royal Liverpool G.C. on 7th-8th September 2019.
The USGA’s International Team and The R&A Men’s Selection Committees have invited various players to attend 2019 Walker Cup practice sessions in December.
The U.S. gathering is scheduled to take place between December 14th– 18th at Seminole G.C. in Florida.
16 players will be in attendance (current SPWAR / WAGR): –
John AUGENSTEIN – Owensboro, Kentucky (6 / 27) Akshay BHATIA – Wake Forest, North Carolina (104 / 29) Will GORDON – Davidson, North Carolina (9 / 37) Stewart HAGESTAD – Newport Beach, California (80 / 15) Cole HAMMER – Houston, Texas (15 / 11) Brandon MANCHENO – Jacksonville, Florida (39 / 50) Bryson NIMMER – Bluffton, South Carolina (11 / 38) Kevin O’CONNELL – Cary, North Carolina (270 / 21) Matt PARZIALE – Brockton, Massachusetts (130 / 155) Chandler PHILLIPS – Huntsville, Texas (22 / 12) Trent PHILLIPS – Inman, South Carolina (105 / 37) * Isaiah SALINDA – South San Francisco, California (13 / 32) Alex SMALLEY – Wake Forest, North Carolina (16 / 24) Tyler STRAFACI – Davie, Florida (21/ 75) Matthew WOLFF – Agoura Hills, California (14 / 5) Brandon WU – Scarsdale, New York (19 / 47)
* Davis RILEY – Hattiesburg, Mississippi (10 / 8) withdrew on 25th November having decided to forego his final semester of eligibility at Alabama University and turn professional. He was replaced by Trent PHILLIPS.
Stewart Hagestad is the only member of the 2017 USA Team who will attend the practice session and one of three mid-amateurs invited; the others being Matt Parziale and Kevin O’Connell.
The absence of Collin Morkikawa (2 / 2), Braden Thornberry (3 / 3) and Justin Suh (4 / 1) suggests all three have made their intentions to turn Pro at the end of the current U.S. College season known to the USGA.
Zachary Bauchou (12 / 18) and Philip Knowles (20 / 69) are two of the more noteworthy U.S. players missing from the list.
John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships said: “This practice session presents an excellent opportunity for the players, the captain (Nathaniel Crosby) and the USGA to become familiar with each other as we begin the process of team selection. While these 16 talented individuals represent the first pool of potential team members, we expect many others will be considered as the selection process moves toward its conclusion next August.”
Looking back at recent Walker Cup practice sessions six of the 16 players named in 2017 made the final 10-man USA Team whilst nine of the 16 did so in both 2013 and 2015.
The final 2019 USA Walker Cup team will potentially include five automatic selections drawn from: –
– the top 3 USA players in the WAGR (as of early August).
– the 2019 U.S. Amateur champion (if eligible);
– the Mark H. McCormack Award winner (WAGR world No.1 immediately after U.S. Amateur – if eligible);
The remaining five to seven U.S. players will be decided by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee after the U.S. Amateur concludes.
The R&A, who chose not to make a formal announcement, have also recently invited a group of players to a practice session to be held at the 2019 venue Royal Liverpool G.C. on 18-19 December 2018 *.
Unfortunately the dates clash with the South Beach International Amateur which a number of Great British and Irish players have already committed to. Amongst those planning to be in South Florida and high in the rankings are Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Conor GOUGH (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Ben JONES (ENG), Joe PAGDIN (ENG), Tom PLUMB (ENG) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG). I assume all of them will be sending their apologies.
*Subsequently photos were released by The R&A reporting that 10 players attended the two day session. These were: –
Bailey GILL (ENG) Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) Conor PURCELL (IRE) Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) Sandy SCOTT (SCO) Jamie STEWART (SCO) Tom THURLOWAY (ENG) Euan WALKER (SCO)
The USGA have today announced the introduction of automatic selections to their international team selection process.
These new guidelines will be used for the first time for the men’s and women’s USA teams that will compete in this September’s World Amateur Team Championships in Ireland.
They will then be adopted for the 2019 Walker Cup Match and 2020 Curtis Cup Match.The selection of the 10-man 2019 USA Walker Cup team will now take place in two segments in the preceding August: –
1. a) The top 3 ranked USA players in the WAGR (as of early August and before the U.S. Amateur)*.
2. a) The 2019 U.S. Amateur champion*;
2. b) The 2019 Mark H. McCormack Medal winner (Men’s WAGRTM No. 1 / announced immediately after the U.S. Amateur Championship)*; and
2. c) The remaining selections, which will include at least one mid-amateur (25 years and older) player, will be decided by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee (ITSC).
*subject to the respective players being U.S. citizens and / or remaining amateur these individuals will now be automatically selected.
The USGA’s ITSC will continue to place primary emphasis on playing accomplishments, rankings and awards over the past two years, with particular focus on results in USGA competitions. It will also continue to adhere to an overarching guideline that a player named to any of its teams must have an unquestioned ability to appropriately represent the USA and USGA with character, sportsmanship and integrity.
The ITSC consists of 10 members, including representatives of the USGA Championship Committee, Executive Committee and international competition staff members. It is currently chaired by Martha Lang, who has competed in more than 60 USGA championships and is a former Curtis Cup player (1992) and captain (1996).
The Walker Cup captain will not have a formal vote on who makes the team but will provide “significant input” behind the scenes.
John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships & Governance, said: “Adding these elements of transparency to our selections helps players understand the process and aspire to earn coveted spots on these top teams.”
The USA Team will defend the Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England, 7-8th September 2019.
Here is my Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) team for the Walker Cup match to be played on 9th and 10th September against USA at the Los Angeles Country Club.
My selection has primarily been driven by a wish to pick players with consistent and winning records in 2017. However, I have also had to temper this with the fact this is an away match likely to be played in sunny, near perfect conditions.
In previous years stronger foursomes partnerships have been established in prior international matches. For various reasons I do not believe this is the case in 2017 and as such have largely ignored pairings, although I am confident that sound partnerships can be formed from the players I have selected.
2017 – US Amateur MP – Quarters
2017 – European Amateur Team A MP – W3/H0/L1
2017 – European Amateur Team Medal – T8
2017 – British Open Final Qualifying – Co-Medalist
2017 – European Amateur – T17
2017 – British Amateur – T67
2017 – Scottish Open Amateur – 5th
2017 – Brabazon Trophy (Eng Open Am) – T8
2017 – Irish Amateur Open – T7 2017 – Battle Trophy (SCO) – Champion
2017 – European Nations (ESP) – T7
2017 – African Amateur – 2nd
Connor is an experienced player who has performed consistently well on the international stage for some time now. Not quite at his very best this year but he pleasingly seems to be finding some form as the match approaches. His performance this week at the U.S. Amateur clearly demonstrates his pedigree.
2. MATTHEW JORDAN (England)
2017 – US Amateur Qualifying – 1st Alt
2017 – European Amateur Team A MP – W3/H0/L3
2017 – European Amateur Team Medal – T2
2017 – European Amateur – 6th
2017 – British Amateur – 64’s 2017 – St Andrews Links Trophy (SCO) – Champion
2017 – Scottish Open Amateur – 2nd
2017 – Brabazon Trophy (Eng Open Am) – 5th
2017 – Irish Amateur Open – T4
2017 – Lytham Trophy (ENG) – T7
2017 – Hampshire Salver (ENG) – 8th
2017 – Quadrandular (ENG, ESP, ITA, GER) MP – W4/H1/L1
Matthew has probably enjoyed the best overall year of any GB&I amateur golfer. His superb run of results in the heart of our season, culminating in a win at the St Andrews Links Trophy, saw him move swiftly through the ranks and in to a fully deserved place on our team.
3. ALFIE PLANT (England)
2017 – British Open – T62
2017 – European Amateur Team A MP – W5/H0/L1
2017 – European Amateur Team Medal – T2 2017 – European Amateur – Champion
2017 – British Amateur – T78
2017 – St Andrews Links Trophy (SCO) – T34
2017 – Spanish International Amateur MP – 16’s
2017 – Spanish International Amateur Medal – T4
2017 – New South Wales Amateur (AUS) MP – 32’s
2017 – New South Wales Amateur Medal – T9
2017 – Australia Amateur MP – 32’s
2017 – Master of the Amateurs (AUS) – T14
A man for the big occasion Alfie was always going to find a way into our Walker Cup Team. Having said that for much of the year it looked unlikely for the 2016 Lytham Trophy winner. His memorable victory at the European Amateur changed his 2017 story completely and when he backed it up with a strong showing in the European Amateur Team and a silver medal winning performance at The Open he was assured of his place.
4. JACK SINGH BRAR (England)
2017 – US Amateur MP – 64’s
2017 – US Amateur Medal – T8
2017 – English Amateur Medal – T6
2017 – US Amateur Qualifying – Medalist
2017 – European Amateur – T7
2017 – British Amateur MP – 16’s
2017 – Scottish Open Amateur – T18
2017 – Brabazon Trophy (Eng Open Am) – T2 2017 – Lytham Trophy (ENG) – Champion
2017 – Hampshire Salver (ENG) – Champion
2017 – Spanish International Amateur MP – 32’s
2017 – Spanish International Amateur Medal – T9
2017 – New South Wales Amateur (AUS) MP – Quarters
2017 – New South Wales Amateur Medal – T9
2017 – Avondale Amateur Medal (AUS) – 2nd
2017 – Australian Amateur MP – 16’s
Jack has enjoyed an excellent season with consistently good results throughout. He secured his spot relatively early with wins at the Hampshire Salver and Lytham Trophy, followed by a 2nd at the Brabazon. A couple of surprising match play losses in recent weeks are a slight concern but are more than offset by his international experience and continued improvement.
The Walker Cup
5. JACK DAVIDSON (Wales)
2017 – Home Internationals (GB&I) – W4/H1/L1 2017 – Welsh Amateur (Closed) MP – Champion
2017 – Welsh Amateur Medal – T4
2017 – European Amateur Team Medal – T12
2017 – St Andrews Links Trophy (SCO) – 9th
2017 – Brabazon Trophy (Eng Open Am) – T35
2017 – Welsh Open Amateur – 3rd
2017 – Lytham Trophy (ENG) – T13 2017 – European Nations (ESP) – Champion 2017 – Spanish International Amateur MP – Champion
2017 – Portuguese International Amateur – T7
2017 – South American Amateur – 3rd
Jack is the only GB&I amateur to win three times this year – the Spanish International Amateur, European Nations and the Welsh Amateur – with two of these wins coming in match play events. When you add this to his other high finishes this season and impressive Home Internationals results this week he has become a strong pick for us.
6. HARRY ELLIS (England)
2017 – US Amateur Medal – T65
2017 – European Amateur Team A Match – W4/H0/L2
2017 – European Amateur Team Medal – T8 2017 – British Amateur MP – Champion
2017 – British Amateur Medal – 3rd
2017 – NCAA D1 Washington Regional (USA) – T5
2017 – USA Collegiate D1 Rank (all year, pre-Regionals) – 73
Harry’s superb comeback win in the Amateur Championship in June deservedly sealed his place in the team. It came on the back of a good US College season where he produced a number of impressive results for Florida State. He also delivered for England in the European Amateur Teams where his foursomes partnership with Alfie Plant was unbeaten.
7. PAUL MCBRIDE (Ireland)
2017 – Home Internationals (GB&I) – W4/H1/L0
2017 – European Open (European Tour) – T47
2017 – European Am Team Medal – T2
2017 – European Amateur – T13
2017 – British Amateur – Quarters
2017 – USA Collegiate D1 Rank (all year, pre-Regionals) – 53
I have been really impressed with Paul’s play this summer since he returned home from Wake Forest where he had also played well during the regular US College season. With his experience in the US and good current form, including an unbeaten Home Internationals this week, I expect him to play a leading role in Los Angeles.
8. SCOTT GREGORY (England)
2017 – US Amateur Medal – T70
2017 – English Amateur (Closed) MP – Quarters
2017 – English Amateur Medal – T10
2017 – Cobra Puma (PGA EuroPro Tour) – T4
2017 – European Amateur Team A Match – W3/H1/L1
2017 – European Amateur – T32
2017 – Irish Amateur Open – T26 2017 – New South Wales Amateur (AUS) – Champion
2017 – New South Wales Amateur Medal – T3
2017 – Avondale Amateur Medal (AUS) – 21st
2017 – Australian Amateur MP – 16’s
2017 – Australian Amateur Medal – T12
Scott has played a mixed Pro / Am schedule this year, enjoying the fruits of his 2016 Amateur Championship win but making it hard for us to properly assess his standing. He has had a steady year on the amateur circuit, the highlight being an early season win in Australia, and has played relatively well in the last few weeks. His international experience and impressive match play record also underpin his selection. Finally, with fellow Hampshire men Singh Brar and Ellis already in my team his inclusion may bring useful foursomes flexibility too.
9. ROBERT MACINTYRE (Scotland)
2017 – US Amateur Medal and MP – 32’s 2017 – Vierumaki Finnish (Challenge Tour) – T53 2017 – European Amateur Team A Match – W3/H0/L1 2017 – European Amateur – T4 2017 – British Amateur Medal and MP – 16’s 2017 – St Andrews Links Trophy (SCO) – T24 2017 – Brabazon Trophy (Eng Open Am) – T25 2017 – Match Play 9 (Challenge Tour) – T33 2017 – Lytham Trophy (ENG) – T16 2017 – European Nations (ESP) – T7 2017 – Australian Amateur MP – Semi’s
Robert has shown glimpses of what he is capable of in 2017 without delivering either the consistency or the win I would like to have seen. Again his international experience and strong match play record, including a good performance at this week’s US Amateur, mean he is well worth his place.
10. DAVID BOOTE (Wales)
2017 – US Amateur Medal – T85
2017 – Western Amateur (USA) – T52
2017 – European Amateur Team B Match – W2/H0/L1
2017 – European Amateur Team Medal – T16
2017 – British Open Final Qualifying (3 spots) – T4
2017 – European Amateur – T26
2017 – British Amateur – 64’s
2017 – St Andrews Links Trophy (SCO) – T4
2017 – US Open Sectionals (15 spots) – 18th
2017 – Brabazon Trophy (Eng Open Am) – 7th
2017 – Irish Amateur Open – T26
2017 – Lytham Trophy (ENG) – T29
2017 – European Nations (ESP) – T10
2017 – Portuguese International Amateur – T4
2017 – Australian Amateur MP – 32’s
I have wanted to select David from the start, albeit he has (or perhaps other players have) made it harder than I would have liked. A 2016 graduate of Stanford University he offers California / USA experience and has an excellent track record in international team competitions. His 2017 results offer good consistency in premier events, albeit there are few top 10s and no wins. A potential foursomes pairing with fellow Welshman Jack Davidson helps his selection. I hope his decision to play the Western Amateur rather than the South of England and Welsh Amateur doesn’t come back to haunt him when the selection that matters is made.
Scotsmen LIAM JOHNSTON and CRAIG HOWIE have every right to expect to be selected for this year’s GB&I team. Indeed they still maybe !
Look at their 2017 playing records below and then compare them with those of Scott Gregory, Robert MacIntyre and David Boote. Johnston has won two big events this year – how can he not be in the team you may ask ?
If this match was taking place on a links course at home then I would probably have both of them in my team. Unfortunately for them it is not and that has influenced me.
However, our Captain, Craig Watson, is Scottish and I certainly would not question him if he pushed his fellow Selection Committee members for one or both of their inclusions.
The best I can offer is the opportunity to be my Reserves.
11. Liam JOHNSTON (Scotland)
2017 – Western Amateur (USA) – T18
2017 – European Amateur – T17
2017 – St Andrews Links Trophy (SCO) – 7th 2017 – Scottish Open Amateur – Champion
2017 – Irish Amateur Open – T10
2017 – Lytham Trophy (ENG) – T13
2017 – European Nations (ESP) – T24 2017 – African Amateur – Champion
2017 – South African Amateur – Quarters
2017 – Cape Province Open Am (RSA) – 26th
2017 – South African Stroke Amateur – T5
Liam started 2017 very well with a number of excellent performances in South Africa, including victory in the prestigious African Amateur. He has played well back home over the summer too culminating in a second win at the Scottish Open Amateur. His performance in the Western Amateur a few weeks ago was encouraging but a W0/H3/L3 performance at the Home Internationals was badly timed.
12. Craig HOWIE (Scotland)
2017 – Home Internationals (GB&I) – W2/D2/L2
2017 – Scottish Amateur (Closed) MP – 32’s
2017 – European Amateur Team A Match – W2/H0/L2
2017 – European Amateur – T32
2017 – British Amateur MP – 32’s
2017 – British Amateur Medal – T11
2017 – St Andrews Links Trophy (SCO) – T10
2017 – Scottish Open Amateur – T3
2017 – Brabazon Trophy (Eng Open Am) – T25
2017 – Irish Amateur Open – T7 2017 – Craigmillar Park Open Am (SCO) – Champion
2017 – European Nations (ESP) – T19
2017 – African Amateur – 5th
2017 – South African Amateur Medal – T11
2017 – Cape Province Open Am (RSA) – T9
2017 – South African Stroke Amateur – T7
Craig has enjoyed a consistently good year with nine top 11 finishes recorded. He perhaps needed to convert one of them into a big win to really push himself into the selection picture for this away match. His match play results seem reasonably robust also.
The 117th U.S. Amateur Championship started last Monday at Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.
Within the field of 312 players from 29 different countries were nine players from Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I).Here is a list of how they have got on in order of success: –
1. Connor SYME 21 (SCO)
SP – 72 BA / 70 RV (+2) Tied 35th
MP – Lost Quarter Finals 2&1 to Doug Ghim (USA)
2. Robert MACINTYRE 21 (SCO)
SP – 68 BA / 74 RV (+2) Tied 35th
MP – Lost Round of 32 3&1 to Dawson Armstrong (USA)
3. Jack SINGH BRAR 20 (ENG)
SP – 69 RV / 69 BA (-2) Tied 8th
MP – Lost Round of 64 3&1 to Joey Vrzich (USA)
4. Harry ELLIS 21 (ENG) – 2017 Amateur Champion
SP – 73 BA / 71 RV (+4) Tied 57th
Missed out in 13-for-8 play-off for a final MP spot
MP- Did Not Qualify
5. Scott GREGORY 22 (ENG)
SP – 70 BA / 75 RV (+5) Tied 66th
MP – Did Not Qualify
6. David BOOTE 22 (WAL)
SP – 76 RV / 70 BA (+6) Tied 81st
MP – Did Not Qualify
7. Alfie PLANT 25 (ENG)
SP – 74 RV / 76 BA (+10) Tied 130th
MP – Did Not Qualify
8. Stuart GREHAN 24 (IRE)
SP – 75 BA / 76 RV (+11) Tied 156th
MP – Did Not Qualify
9. Daniel SUTTON 21 (ENG)
SP – 79 RV / 76 BA (+15) Tied 206th
MP – Did Not Qualify
Riviera Country Club (Photo: California GOLF)
From a Walker Cup perspective the U.S. Amateur Championship for me was about whether David BOOTE, Scott GREGORY or Stuart GREHAN could deliver a performance that could underpin their potential selection for the GB&I team. Boote and Gregory may both still make the final R&A team but given the competition for places I believe the decision will be finely balanced.
Good luck to Connor SYME (USA) in his Quarter Final match today against Doug GHIM (USA). What a psychological boost it would be for our Walker Cup Team if he could get to the Semi-Finals or dare I dream even further.
Jim Nugent yesterday reported in Global Golf Post that the USGA had decided to soften their Mid-Amateur Selection Policy, starting in 2017.
The USGA adopted this approach in 2013, committing to including two mid-amateur (over 25 years old) players in all of their future Walker Cup teams.
However, with the prime instigator of this policy Tom O’Toole coming to the end of his term as USGA President, the pool of potential candidates diminishing all the time and recent results disappointing it appears a change has quietly been instigated.
In the period from 1973 to 2003 the US team included at least two mid-amateurs and sometimes as many as four so the formal policy introduction wasn’t a particularly earth shattering development in 2013. Having said that in 2005 there were no mid-amateurs and between 2007 and 2011 just one.
In the 2015 match at Royal Lytham 52 year old Mike McCoy became the third oldest competitor in the history of the contest when he joined Scott Harvey on the USA team.
Whilst well founded the inclusion of mid-ams hasn’t been much of a success in playing terms. They were W1-L5 at Lytham and are now W3-L8 since the formal policy was introduced in 2013.
The USGA are now said to be only committed to the inclusion of one mid-amateur for each future match. Any additional mid-amateur candidates will need to have proven themselves better than College alternatives in elite amateur competition throughout the selection period.
Stewart Hagestad (Photo: Chris Trotman / ANGC)
Following the conclusion of the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in September Stewart Hagestad (26) and Scott Harvey (38), the champion and runner-up, were initially the clear favourites to pick up the 2017 mid-amateur spots in the USA team. Both were included in the USA’s Walker Cup squad that met up in Los Angeles in December 2016.
With Hagestad (26) having picked up low amateur honours at The Masters in April 2017 he is unquestionably the USA’s No. 1 mid-amateur and as such appears a certainty for their 2017 team. He is committed to a full amateur schedule and interestingly has indicated he plans to play in both the Irish Open Amateur and The Amateur Championship this year.
Scott Harvey would therefore appear to be the man most under pressure as a result of this policy change. It is now clear that he will need to perform very well through the spring and summer if he is to make the team for a second time.
Stewart HAGESTAD (25) today beat Scott HARVEY (38) on the 37th hole of a thrilling 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
4 down with 5 holes to play the Californian amazingly birdied the 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th holes of the Tom Doak-designed Old Course at Stonewall GC in Pennsylvania. He then preceded to hole a 20 footer on the 9th, the first extra hole, to grab the title from a shell shocked Harvey.
Scott Harvey, who comes from North Carolina, had been the favourite going into the final, ranked 67th in the WAGR against Stewart Hagestad’s (perhaps understated) 1,873rd place. Harvey had achieved joint medalist honours with a 138 (-2) total in the 36-hole stroke play qualifying before nicely progressing, seeded number 3, through the five previous match play stages. He is of course also a former champion, having won the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2014, as well as being a member of the 2015 U.S.A. Walker Cup Team.
The match followed the expected pattern until the final few holes when the golfing gods decided to smile down on Hagestad, a graduate of the University of Southern California who now resides in New York working in the commercial real estate sector. There will surely have been few better putting performances at the end of any USGA Championship in it’s long history.
This year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur final was slightly unusual in that it used all 36-holes at the Stonewall facility. It is believed this is the first time this has ever happened in any major amateur championship final. The first 18 holes were played on the North Course before the afternoon session was contested on the Old Course. Prior to today the North had only been used for the stroke play qualifying with all of the match play games being played on the Old.
Stewart Hagestad Celebrates His U.S. Mid-Amateur Victory (Photo: USGA)
The win means Stewart will receive an invitation to the 2017 U.S. Masters, will be exempt into the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship (at Riviera CC) and will be exempt into sectional qualifying for the 2017 U.S. Open. But that’s not all….
Stewart Hagestad is almost certain to now be selected for the 2017 U.S.A. Walker Cup team, barring a complete loss of form next year.
In early 2013 the USGA announced that it planned to select at least two mid-amateurs for their Walker Cup team going forward. It delivered on this promise in both 2013 and 2015. At the time the USGA’s Tom O’Toole said: “Mid-amateurs, who are seasoned players, are likely to bring a unique perspective to a team and demonstrate, as well as appreciate, the characteristics of leadership and generosity of spirit that are central to the Walker Cup. It is the positive influence mid-amateurs will have on the Walker Cup experience and our strong commitment to amateur golf that causes us to reach this determination.”
Following the 2015 defeat at Royal Lytham the calls for this slightly controversial policy to be reviewed by the USGA have inevitably grown in volume. Whilst no decisions have been announced in this regard it is hard to believe they will exclude mid-amateurs entirely at the Los Angeles CC, which is why I am so confident Hegastad will now be included.
With next year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur not scheduled to take place until after the Walker Cup match, on 7-12 October at Capital City Club in Atlanta, this year’s Championship was always going to be something of a mid-amateur selection decider.
Few would also bet against Scott Harvey, a consistent performer for many years now, joining Stewart Hagestad if the USGA decide to carry on with their two mid-amateurs policy.
Scott Harvey In U.S. Amateur Action (Photo:USGA)
Scott Harvey is clearly one of if not the best U.S. mid-amateur, he brings Walker Cup experience and also has a recent win on the Los Angeles CC course which will be used for next year’s match. Earlier in 2016 he beat Hagestad in the final of the mid-amateur George C. Thomas Invitational which must surely put another tick in his box.
With the USGA expected to announce a 16-man Walker Cup squad in November 2016 for a pre-Christmas practice weekend at the Los Angeles CC the participation, or not, of Hagestad and / or Harvey should become much clearer sooner rather than later.
Mr. Miller captained the United States team at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2015. Understandably given the heavy defeat inflicted upon the team his captaincy came in for some criticism in the post match analysis.
However, with the USGA adopting a ‘two-time’ policy since the mid-1990s the decision to give him another go was never really in doubt. Indeed the omens are good for the United States – three of Miller’s four recent predecessors have all earned their revenge two years later after starting their tenure with away defeats.
In announcing the USGA’s decision Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman, said: “The members of the 2015 USA Walker Cup team were enthusiastic about their experience at Royal Lytham, and all cited Spider as the reason for their overwhelmingly positive comments. The USGA believes that Spider’s leadership, innate understanding of the values of the competition, and his good-natured spirit are critical to the same experience he can provide for the team in 2017.”
Mr. Miller, who is 64, comes from Bloomington, Indiana. He is married to Kathy and they have five children. He owns Best Beers Inc, a beverage distribution company, which he established in his home town in 1979.
He won the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 1996 and 1998. As a result of these wins, he competed in the Masters Tournament in 1997 and 1999. Mr. Miller also represented the United States in the 1999 Walker Cup match played at Nairn in Scotland. Miller teamed up with Hunter Haas to win a pair of foursomes matches before he lost to Paul Casey, 3 and 2, in the final day singles.